Here come the English again! As the unpredictable side squared up to the hosts Bangladesh at this port city of Chittagong, the raucous crowd sensed there was an even chance of an upset. With Kevin Pietersen having to fly home due to injury (as did Stuart Broad), it was Matt Prior who strode out with Andrew Strauss. The steady beginning belied the sense of excitement all around. That, inevitably, was the proverbial calm before the storm. Following a wide bowled by left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, Prior absent-mindedly stayed put outside the crease and the spritely Mushfiqur Rahim whipped off the bails in a flash. The multitude erupted. It was 32 for one in 7 overs. Not long after, Junaid Siddique snapped up a sizzler at slip, and Strauss was gone too. There was absolute mayhem in the stadium.
The runs dried up and, sure enough, Ian Bell holed out to mid-wicket. That was 53 for three after 16.4 overs. Eoin Morgan, on the comeback trail after injury, helped Jonathan Trott resurrect the innings. Morgan stroked beautifully, finding the boundary regularly, while Trott brought up his first one after 54 deliveries. Predictably, it was Morgan who won the race to the half-century, but he perished to a brilliant catch by Imrul Kayes for 63 off 72 balls, having hit 8 fours. The partnership was worth 109 in 22 overs. Trott found the ropes for the second time off the 87th ball that he faced. Neither were runs easy to come by nor was there a reasonable partnership thereafter. Trott finally fell for 67 off 99 deliveries, and the English innings wound up for 225 in the last over.
Urged by the boisterous fans, there was now a tremendous opportunity for the home heroes to ring in another fervently sought victory. The batsmen too believed it could be done. While Imrul Kayes played the waiting game, the flamboyant Tamim Iqbal flayed the bowling. Tamim raced to 38 before he was castled with the scoreboard reading 52. He had struck 5 boundaries in his 26-ball knock. Importantly he had provided great momentum to the innings. After a couple of other dismissals, Imrul found an able ally in skipper Shakib Al Hasan. They steadily added 82 priceless runs in 17.2 overs when Imrul needlessly ran himself out. This was the breakthrough England would have been wishing for, and sure enough, wickets began to tumble. Four more fell for 14 runs.
Mahmudullah and Shafiul Islam had a difficult task with 57 runs required off 62 balls and just two wickets left. Again the duo worked in tandem, with Mahmudullah dropping anchor and Shafiul wielding the long handle. As Mahmudullah reverse-swept Graeme Swann to the boundary, Shafiul took charge of the latter part of this 42nd over, smashing one through cover across the ropes before finishing with a six over long-on. The chase was on in real earnest. Bangladesh had nothing to lose. James Anderson did not help England’s cause by conceding 11 runs in the 46th over, 7 of them through wides. Shafiul slammed Tim Bresnan for 2 boundaries in the next over, and suddenly a Bangla victory was within sight. Another four in the next over and just 5 runs were required in 2 overs. Mahmudullah drove the last ball of the penultimate over to the boundary, and Bangladesh pulled off another famous win in the premier event amid scenes of frenzy. England had provided the thrills and spills of the tournament, sending Group B into a tizzy. Would there be surprise entrants in the quarter-finals? Many interesting possibilities had been thrown up.
England: 225 all out (49.4 overs), Bangladesh: 227 for eight wickets (49 overs) (CWC 2011)
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